Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

Sweet Sixteen

by Jeff Paterson / Vancouver Canucks
It’s impossible to capture Trevor Linden’s career as a Canuck in one short list of accomplishments. So what follows is not meant to be any sort of ranking, but rather a reflection of 16 of Number-16’s most-memorable moments in a Canuck uniform:


June 11, 1988 is a day that changed the course of the Vancouver Canucks forever. That’s the day a skinny kid from Medicine Hat was drafted second overall and officially started his 20-year NHL journey. He was presented with a yellow Canucks jersey and hat by then-general manager Pat Quinn on the podium at the Montreal Forum. It was the first glimpse Vancouver hockey fans had of Trevor Linden in a Canuck uniform. They liked what they saw then. And it only got better from there.


No one will ever forget the heroics of Trevor Linden on June 14, 1994. In an effort for the ages, the Canuck captain scored both of his team’s goals including a spectacular shorthanded effort in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Alas, it wasn’t enough as the Canucks fell 3-2 to the New York Rangers. And the lasting image of Linden on bent knee, hands on head at the final buzzer coming to grips with the fact he’d willed his team so close to the Cup only to come up one goal short.


It is one of the all time great hockey photos and it captured everything about Trevor Linden and the effort required to play for the Stanley Cup. It’s the famous picture of an exhausted Linden, eyes closed and grimacing, with blood on his jersey and his arm around Kirk McLean at the end of Game 6 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. Linden appears to be leaning on his netminder as if he can barely stand up after the pounding he’s taken throughout the playoffs. It’s impossible to see that photo and not hear the words of the legendary Jim Robson: “He will play. You know he’ll play. He’ll play on crutches. He will play and he will play at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.” Boy, did he ever.


It’s still hard for many to believe the fan favourite had been dealt away in the first place (although even Linden has to admit getting Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe in return was a good deal for the Canucks), Linden returned to his original NHL home when he was re-acquired by Vancouver on November 10, 2001. It was a Saturday (you remember these things when Linden is involved). It marked the end of a four year sojourn that saw Linden play for the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. Just a day after he came full circle, he was back in familiar Canuck colours suiting up for a game in Minnesota.


In a series that was almost too close to call, it was hardly surprising the Canucks-Dallas first round battle in 2007 would go right down to the wire. And when tight Canuck playoff games were on the line, it was almost expected that Trevor Linden would come through in the clutch. He’d done it before and he did it again deflecting a Mattias Ohlund point shot past Marty Turco to give the Canucks a 2-1 third period lead they wouldn’t relinquish. That goal stood up as the game winner as the Canucks shot down the Stars and moved on to round two.


With the Canucks up 3-1, but St. Louis on the power play to start the third period of Game 7 of their 2003 first-round playoff series, Trevor Linden made sure the Blues didn’t get back in the hockey game. Picking up a loose puck at his own blueline, he moved in two on one with Artem Chubarov and used that familiar Linden snap shot to roof one on Chris Osgood. Twenty-eight seconds into the third period, Linden had sealed the deal and the Canucks moved on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in eight years.


The rumours had been swirling, but no one knew for certain whether April 5, 2008 would be the final time Linden would play in an NHL game. That’s why the 18,630 at GM Place that night took the opportunity to salute Linden prior to the third-period puck drop. It was the first of many standing ovations which carried over into a stirring post-game tribute and a peaked with a deafening roar when Linden presented the final Canuck jersey he ever wore to a very lucky fan.


When fans at GM Place saw Trevor Linden score against Calgary on March 30, 2008, some must have wondered if they’d just witnessed Trevor’s final NHL goal. But showing he still possessed a knack for the big moment, Linden scored again in that same game. That second goal of the night turned out to be the 375th and final goal of Linden’s career.


Who will ever forget the hit he threw on St. Louis defenseman Jeff Norton in the 1995 playoffs? Certainly not Norton. Viewed nearly 100,000 times, this You Tube classic will live on forever as people clearly can’t get enough of watching Linden finish his check on Norton sending him through the plexiglass at the Pacific Coliseum and into the first row of seats.


Despite being used in a reduced role in his final two seasons, Trevor Linden still found ways to make his mark in hockey games. In his final season, he became the team’s shootout specialist scoring clutch goals in the NHL’s tie-breaking skills competition. The one that stands out was on December 8, 2007 at the conclusion of a dizzying night of drama against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a full-house on its feet at GM Place, Trevor Linden needed to score to keep the Canucks alive in the shootout and the hockey game. He made no mistake. The Canucks wound up losing, but not before Linden had added to his legend.


How many times did Captain Clutch come through when the Canucks needed him? With Game 6 against Calgary in the first round of the 1994 playoffs in overtime, the Canucks were given the power play. Trevor Linden was camped on Mike Vernon’s doorstep and got a couple of whacks at a loose puck before finally shovelling it under the Flames netminder. The Canucks won the game 3-2, they tied the series 3-3 and the rest, as they say, is history. Yet again, Trevor Linden had come to the rescue.


Linden didn’t wait long to make his mark on the National Hockey League. Just seven games into what would prove to be a 20-year career, he scored his first goal as a Vancouver Canuck. It came October 18, 1988 against the New York Islanders. The victim that night? None other than Hockey Night in Canada’s Kelly Hrudey. The Canucks lost the hockey game 3-2, but Linden was well on his way to becoming a Canuck legend.


Although he won a pair of Memorial Cups in Medicine Hat, Linden hadn’t had much experience hoisting hardware in his time with the Canucks. So he can be forgiven for what happened after the Canucks won the Western Conference championship after eliminating Toronto in 1994. When Linden accepted the Clarence Campbell trophy from then league executive Brian Burke, he excitedly thrust it over his head and then watched as the lid fell off.


In September of 1991, Trevor Linden’s tremendous leadership was rewarded when, at the tender age of 21, he was named captain of the Canucks – becoming the youngest team captain in the league at the time. Linden proudly wore the ‘C’ for the next six seasons leading the Canucks to the playoffs in all but the final year of his tenure. Linden’s dedication, determination and leadership will be the standard by which all future Canucks captains will be judged.


With three weeks to go in the season (and his career, as it turned out) and his Canucks in the thick of the playoff race, Trevor Linden’s leadership surfaced yet again. Coming off a pair of road losses, Linden’s iconic status returned as he made a pregame speech prior to a March 15, 2008 game in Dallas. Fueled by Linden’s pep talk, the Canucks jumped out to a 3-0 lead and beat the Stars 4-3 to salvage a .500 road trip and stay in the playoff mix.


With the Canucks in a must-win situation to make the playoffs on the final night of the 1990-91 regular season, things didn’t look good. Despite playing on home ice, the Canucks fell behind 2-0 to Winnipeg and it looked like the Jets would fly into the post-season leaving the Canucks on the outside looking in. Trevor Linden wouldn’t let that happen. Linden got the Canucks on the board early in the third as they started their comeback. After Cliff Ronning tied the game and sent it to overtime, Linden fired a shot that was deflected by Geoff Courtnall and past Bob Essensa. He’d done it again. With a goal and an assist in the biggest game of the season, the Canuck captain had stepped into the spotlight and made things happen.

Trevor Linden - In his own words
The one-hour special airs Monday, June 23rd @ 9:00pm on Sportsnet Pacific. Follow Vancouver's favourite son through his final season the highs, the lows, the tearful goodbye. More than just a review of a season, Canucks TV will explore a career of giving back and the reflections of a proud and humble man.

1112 - Number of games in Canucks jersey

318 - Number of goals scored as a Canuck

415 - Assists with the Vancouver Canucks

16 - Season with the Canucks

733 - Total career points with Vancouver

Trevor Linden Highlights
In His Own Words
A Day in the Life pt. 1
A Day in the Life pt. 2
Trevor at 18
Trevor on PTI
Linden Development
Children's Hospital Visit
Best of 2007-08
A Few Things About Trevor
Linden Receives NHL Foundation Player Award

View More